3 Steps to Revitalize Your Appraisal Process

Involve customers, drive leads from service, and focus on consistency and transparency to make appraisals play a bigger role in your bottom line


Another year has come and gone. What were your goals for 2017? Did you reach them, or come close? Can you even remember them? Often, we set ourselves up for failure by creating too many unrealistic or unachievable goals.

To kick off 2018, let’s focus on two main goals for your dealership: to increase retail sales and decrease wholesale loss. Maybe you just rolled your eyes because, let’s face it, aren’t these always the goals?

The question is: How will you get there this year?

Here are three recommendations that will make the biggest impact on your dealership’s bottom line in 2018.

1. Involve customers in appraisal

This is a simple concept, yet many dealerships struggle to implement customer-assisted appraisal. Instead of having customers wait in the showroom while evaluating their trade, bring them with you.

Engage them in the appraisal process, guide them through the steps, ask questions about their vehicle (you might be surprised by what they’ll volunteer), and make them feel valuable, while simultaneously setting expectations for the valuation you present. If there’s damage to the vehicle, ask about it. Inquire about routine maintenance.

These simple questions build rapport with customers while gaining valuable information. Most importantly, they set the stage should the valuation be lower than what the customer expected.

2. Drive leads from the service lift

Service-drive ups are the cheapest up in your dealership. Create an action plan that gets your sales and service staff working hand in hand to deliver customers exactly what they didn’t know they always wanted: a replacement vehicle in lieu of service.

When service customers come to your dealership, analyze the upside to evaluating their vehicle for replacement. Are they about to be hit with a $3,000 service bill? Do they have two car seats crammed into the backseat of a coupe?

Read your customer’s situation, and if the opportunity is there to turn your service customer into a retail customer, take it.

3. Focus on consistency and transparency

No matter what appraisal methodology and tools you choose, it’s important to establish a process and stick to it every time, regardless of the car. Without a process, management is difficult and it’s hard to measure performance.


It’s also important to create transparency across dealership departments. One of the best ways to is to compensate your management team based on total sales/profits, not department specific–performance. For example, as mentioned earlier, great lead opportunities exist in your service drive.

It’s much easier to create these ups if managers are compensated based on dealership-wide profits versus siloed department profits. Your staff will focus on the overall bottom line because it’s their collective bottom line.

With 2017 behind us, it’s time to look ahead to a successful 2018 and all of its possibilities.

Megan Mahon is director of operations for The Appraisal Lane. Visit www.TheAppraisalLane.com or download The Appraisal Lane app from the App Store (iPhone/iPad) or Google Play (Android). For immediate inquiries about The Appraisal Lane, email marketing@theappraisallane.com.

Megan Mahon

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